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Hardball With Chris Matthews

News/Business. (2013) (CC)

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Boston 40, Fbi 13, Russia 12, Us 11, U.s. 8, Angie 7, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev 6, United States 6, Chechnya 5, Washington 5, Dagestan 4, America 4, Graham 4, Canada 3, Kendall Coffey 3, The City 3, Pennsylvania 3, Clint Van Zandt 2, Clint 2, Chuck Grassley 2,
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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.  (2013)  (CC)  

    April 22, 2013
    11:00 - 12:00am PDT  

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>> karen finney gets tonight's last word. thank you. >> take care. crime and punishment. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, charges filed. suspected boston bomber dzhokhar tsarnaev was charged today with a weapon -- using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death following three deaths and 180 injured in last week's marathon attack. the criminal complaint includes the description of footage of him leaving a knapsack on the ground where the explosion took place. another similar bomb was found at the site of the watertown shootout.
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tsarnaev remains in a boston hospital tonight unable to speak because of injuries that include a gunshot wound to his neck. but he's being questioned by authorities already and responding with written answers. in medford, massachusetts, today a funeral was held for 29-year-old victim krystle campbell. in boston, deval patrick and mayor menino requested a moment of silence at 2:50 to mark the one-week anniversary of the bombing. great public servants up there. we begin with those new charges filed against dzhokhar tsarnaev. pete william is nbc's chief justice correspondent. pete, we have charges. >> we do. couple things about the charges. both of the two counts filed against dzhokhar tsarnaev could bring the death penalty. they're capital cases.
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and interestingly as you well know the commonwealth of massachusetts does not have the death penalty. if anybody is going to seek the death penalty in this case, it would be the federal charge. we're a long way from there. the attorney general has to decide that. i think he would be the youngest person against whom the government would do that if it did. but it could if it wanted to. in terms of what the evidence shows, according to the fbi, it's partly the photographic evidence and partly the forensic evidence. as for the photographs, they give a long discussion of what they say is a key piece of the evidence from the second bombing scene. and this is taken from the restaurant right in front of where the bomb was placed. and according to this video, you see dzhokhar tsarnaev come into the frame. he's wearing a backpack. he works his way into the crowd, the video says. you see him take the backpack off. they say still photos show the backpack at his feet. and then they say it's very telling that at the moment the first bomb goes off, you see the people in the crowd around him
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look in alarm toward the first bombing scene, but they say he doesn't. they say he appears calm. glances that direction momentarily. appears to work his cell phone. and then walks away and then a few seconds after that, the second bomb goes off at the spot where he put down his backpack. so that's the photographic evidence. then they also talk about physical evidence. they say that both the bombs at the marathon were made with pressure cookers. they contained bbs that had an adhesive on them because they appeared to be glued in place into these pressure cookers. and a certain kind of green fuse. then they say at the scene of the shootout in watertown on thursday night, when police say the two brothers threw out another one of these pressure cooker bombs, it was made with the same brand of pressure cooker as the two in the boston marathon bombing, and also contained bbs and green fuse. then one other link in the forensic evidence, they say
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yesterday they went to dzhokhar tsarnaev's dorm room at the umass/dartmouth campus and found in his rooms bbs and a pyrotechnic device. i don't know if that means a big fire cracker. they found a black jacket and white hat similar to what's seen in the fbi photos that were released friday night of one of the two bombers. then finally, chris, there's a discussion that has new details about the carjacking. they say that one of the two brothers tapped on the window of a man's suv, he rolled it down. the person reached in, opened the door, pointed a gun at him and said, did you hear about the boston explosion? i did that. and according to the fbi document, the man showed that he had rounds in his gun and said, i'm serious. and then they drove away, tried to get money out of his atm and eventually stopped at a gas station when the carjack -- the owner of the carjacked car was able to escape, chris. >> well, what would the trial be
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about with this kind of evidence? i guess that would require some speculation. where are the holes in this chain of evidence? >> well, i guess one thing is it's -- there's no discussion in here of, for example, other things that we think we know about is one of victims at the bombing scene described one of the bombers to the fbi. there's nothing of that in here. >> i see. >> and there's other forensic evidence about the bombs, but, of course, you know, this is a starting point. this is just a placeholder to get the process started. there's going to be a grand jury next. there will be an indictment. it will have a lot more detail as the case goes on. the government can file new versions of that, superseding versions they call them. so this is not the end. this is the beginning of the government's statement of the evidence. >> great reporting. thank you, pete williams. for joining us. pete william, justice correspondent for nbc news.
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clint van zandt, msnbc political analyst, and phillip mudd, former cia analyst, former deputy director of the fbi national security branch. he's author of the book "takedown." i wonder, i know we're filled in this country with strange thinking people, truthers, birthers that have off the wall theories. i don't know how anybody could look at this evidence presented so far and have some other theory of the case besides the indictment, itself. >> no, it's really coming together. i mean, there's -- as terrible as this case is and was, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of heavy lifting. we've got the two primary individuals. it's obvious that they had hands on the devices. the pieces we don't have, chris, are where was their inspiration? where did they get the guidance? who taught them how to build the bombs? >> why is that important? why is that important to -- is that important to prosecuting? i mean, what difference does it make why they did it if they did it?
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i'm being tough here. when you look at all this evidence -- >> no. >> go ahead. >> no. it's -- it's important to the case because we want to make sure there aren't others that should be prosecuted. is there anybody else in the immediate boston area who gave aid and comfort, assistance, money, guidance, teaching? if not, how far does this go? did that six-month trip to russia, that the 26-year-old, now deceased, suspected terrorist or bomber, did he receive bomb training there? we -- you know, you can't quit and just say, okay, we've got two guys, we're done with it. let's move on again. as you know, today they had another incident, it took place in canada. they had two individuals that were plotting to bomb trains up in canada. and between the rcnp and the fbi and other agencies, they were able to stop that. just like here in the united states, we have to figure out how far ranging that plot was
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and where do they get that inspiration? >> and when you go back through the histories of big cases, like the rosenbergs, it's rare a person operates without talking about it or sharing. i'm not saying there are accomplices, but there probably are in some cases. this guy has bbs all over his room. the wife of the older brother. i would be looking at all of this, potentially, as people involved. it's common sense, isn't it? i want to bring in phillip here. your thoughts about that. >> look at two pieces of that. first, imminent threat. are there people out there, explosives that represent a threat? there's a parallel piece that will last months. if you look at categories of any terrorist conspiracy, that's money, travel, who radicalized them, did they radicalize somebody else? >> who's involved? >> to prove that negative, i know people are out there saying it's two brothers who acted alone. i suspect that's true. suspicion is not good enough in terrorism. >> in terms of proving the guilt
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or allowing the innocence of this guy, is it important to find out those answers? >> no, but it's important from an intelligence perspective to know whether there's another piece of the conspiracy that could regenerate in two years. >> right. back to you, clint. that question of other people being involved. i mean, he was hanging around the dormitory tuesday night. as a complete civilian. i'm not an attorney. i don't know this stuff. but thinking about it, logically, how does a guy kill a bunch of people on monday and then hang around with a bunch of other americans on tuesday having a great time, expressing his shared sadness over what happened the day before? if he hates america like his older brother said he did, or didn't fit in at all like he said he did, why did he kill a bunch of us or try to kill a bunch of us or kill three people and maim so many others? if he hates america, why did he hate it on monday but not on tuesday? clint? >> some of this may go to trade craft. his brother may have instructed him.
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look, the obvious thing that everybody was looking for was one or two individuals who disappeared from the boston area immediately after the bombing. these guys, chris, somehow were smart enough to know all they had to do was hide in plain sight. continue on. >> got you. >> just like life goes on. and the only thing that got them, the only difference, perhaps, between them and ted kyzunski are photographing. >> yesterday, ed davis said the evidence found in this case suggested the brothers would attack again. this is what you were talking about, phillip. let's watch the chief here. >> we have reason to believe based upon the evidence found at that scene, the explosions, the explosive ordnance that was unexploded and the firepower they had that they were going to attack other individuals. >> you know, it took about several days but the police knew things we didn't know. >> what's going on now we don't know is the volume of
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information investigators on the intelligence side, cia, for example, on the fbi side. the mountain on information is growing exponentially. while you sit there and say it's two brothers, one of whom is dead, the case is closed. figure out things where they travel, who they talk to. did they talk to somebody three years ago who was part of the conspiracy? that will take months. the volume is enormous especially in the digital age. >> if the fbi was checking with the older brother, before he went to russia last year. >> yeah. >> at the behest of the russians, why did the russians let him back in to visit for six months? >> i think they might have used this as an intelligence collection opportunity. >> to watch him? >> they might have. >> all they did was come back and say, check him again. why didn't they catch him doing something if they knew he was up to something? even before he went to russia? three things happened. fbi asked to investigate the guy before he goes to russia. he goes to russia. then fbi investigates him when he comes back. all this -- you talk about operating if plain sight. this guy is an amateur. he goes over to somewhere in russia, comes back, maybe
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radicalized. we're learning this stuff, trying to find it out. everybody is questioning, but nobody's doing anything. >> i don't buy it. >> what don't you buy? >> i don't buy the idea you look at the cases in isolation without understanding the context of counterterrorism operations in the united states. the threat matrix, the roster of threats the united states is facing every day. i think one thing that would surprise americans is they only see these cases episodically when they succeed like boston. >> warns us of a chechen in this country, goes over to that part of the world, and he gets through the screen. how many cases are there like that? >> that's irrelevant. the russians call you. somebody's neighbor calls you. somebody's mom calls you. you get an intercept from europe. you're dealing with dozens of cases every day and thousands of individuals and got to figure -- >> so the watch list is very long. clint, last thought. your thought about that. how do you put it all together?
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we're still trying to figure out what lee harvey oswald was doing in canada. in this case, how do you put it together? the russians knew something was up, warned us something was up and accepted them back into his country. he comes back here again and gets through it all. the older brother. >> realize the fbi reached out to russia and said, hey, can you give us a little background? what else is going on with this guy? what do we get back? nada. the russians owe us something. putin is trying to get ready for the olympics. if he is looking for u.s. help, he needs to help us. what was this guy doing for six months? whose training school was he possibly going to? >> if he wants a gold star from us, that would be a nice way to get it. thank you, clint van zandt, thank you, phillip. please join us again. much more on boston bombing coming up this hour. when we return we're going to get into the law of this case. dzhokhar tsarnaev was formally charged today. he'll be prosecuted through the criminal justice system despite republicans who say he should be treated as an enemy combatant.
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later, the russian connection. we have new details about the older brother, tamerlan, and his six-month trip overseas to russia, that area, as he became increasingly more devout in his religion and radicalism. here in washington, the marathon bombings have already started to change the debate on things like -- you knew this was coming -- immigration. finally, life started to return to normal this weekend in boston. i was up there as the slow healing begins. this is "hardball." as we say up there, "hardball." the place for politics.
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he will not be treated as an enemy combatant. we will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was of course, white house spokesman jay carney short by before 1:00 p.m. today making clear the boston suspect will not be treated as an enemy combatant. as some republican senators includes lindsey graham called for. senator graham challenged them saying the decision they made premature. let's listen. >> here's my concern. as a lawyer for over 30 years, civilian and military, i strongly support the concept that no criminal defendant should ever be required to incriminate themselves while they're in custody of the government. every nation at war should have the ability to defend themselves by gathering intelligence.
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these are not mutually exclusive concepts. i believe our nation is at war. the enemy is radical islam defined as the taliban, al qaeda, and affiliated groups. the question i have regarding this case, is there any association between these two individuals and the groups i just named, to allow enemy combatant status to be conferred upon the suspect in boston? >> let's drill down on the legal status of the boston bombing suspect. kendall coffey. the great jonathan turley, here in washington. thank you for this. can they decide later if a piece of evidence shows up a week from now, that shows a connection, e-mail, whatever, connection with al qaeda, taking orders, timing, that kind of thing?
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does the government change the status of this defendant? >> no, he's a u.s. citizen. he has presumption of innocence. some people get constitutional rights and some do not. they've always focused on whether the person is a u.s. citizen as key factor here. what senator graham was talking about is pretty alarming. he's talking about enemy combatants which is -- >> suppose you go overseas to join al qaeda somewhere and you're with them. are you still an american under the law? >> my view you are. >> under the government's view? >> well, we haven't changed the u.s. constitution yet. and what senator graham is talking about is actually using enemy combatant status as a way of getting evidence. it's no longer the justification we have to isolate them in guantanamo bay. he wants to keep the status open so we get more intelligence. that shows you this path. once you cross that rubicon. >> suppose you're an american in
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world war ii and go join the nazi side. are you still saying the person deserves the rights of american? >> there are special rules of war -- >> are we at war? >> i don't think we are against a category of crime. >> i think a lot of people think we are. >> you know what, they're saying they're at war with terrorism. >> no, no, al qaeda. aren't they the sworn enemy of this country in the west, generally? >> we have a lot of sworn enemies and citizens that have different views and motivations. if we play the cesar-like role and send some citizens to a real trial and some to makeshift military tribunals, we've lost this war. >> you don't believe in killing them by drone, then? >> i'm a big critic of drone. >> i would project that far. let's go to kendall coffey. do you side with what you just heard, kendall? >> mostly. >> go ahead. >> it's clear that being an enemy of society, even hate
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filled and horrific in your crimes, doesn't make you an enemy combatant. you have to be part of an enemy force. i agree with the analysis that being part of al qaeda creates an eligibility. i don't think being part of general hatred of the united states is nearly enough. where i slightly disagree, there's a supreme court decision, the one you were referring to, chris, involving the nazis. one of whom was a u.s. citizen. the crimes were perpetrated to be for u.s. soil. bottom line, this is not a case for enemy combatants, and there so many horrible crimes committed. if we start throwing the constitution out, we're going to lose the real war for our values. >> let's talk about the issue a lot of people have been talking about. not everybody, but some. miranda rights. we've watched enough detective shows no know, police shows, they give miranda rights almost like blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. it's done. why do you think that's an issue? now we just got the word as we went on the air tonight the
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defendant here, the suspect, i guess he's a defendant now, has been given his miranda rights. >> this is truly something of an urban legend. people like to watch shows where a criminal goes free because he wasn't given miranda rights. that's extremely rare. i do criminal defense work. i can tell you, the most you can hope for in a miranda case is one or two statements will not make it into court. it's rare the whole case falls out unless everything -- >> so it's not the poison fruit thing? >> there is a poison fruit provision, standard. but it's very rare for it to pollute an entire case. >> let me ask you practically, why don't the law enforcement officials, the federal officials up there who have him in custody at the hospital, why didn't they just do this as soon as they could? >> in my view they should. i have serious problems with the public safety exception they articulated. this is an exception that usually at the scene, where they're looking for a gun, they're looking for something that a kid could come across. it's not something --
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>> they attest that they do believe there's reasonable belief that this guy and his brother had plans for other operations because they had more bombs. >> well -- >> isn't that a prima facie case? why would you have a bomb if you didn't intend to use it? >> if you take the position of the administration, they argued two years ago they can expand this exception. the way they read it, anyone accused of terrorism would be denied miranda because there's always a chance there might be a another bomb or another conspirator. >> let me go to the same question to kendall. if you have bomb equipment, if they had a bomb at the last minute when they were picked up, they're throwing these ieds at police. isn't that evidence they had the potential and, therefore, the motive even to use them? why would they make them if they weren't going to use them? >> well, certainly, and i think the way the administration is approaching this is a very strong rebuttal to senator graham's contention that the constitution doesn't work and that existing civilian systems are inadequate.
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because what the administration is showing is that the public safety exception gives you enough room in terrorism cases to ask the questions that you need to ask. terrorism definitionally is all about creating public danger. that gives you plenty of room to ask plenty of questions about public safety. >> while you're on, let me ask you about this wmd. i don't like the phrase. i think it was cooked up by the neocons to get us into a war. wmd. i never heard the phrase in my life. it was the way of suggesting nuclear without proving it. under the term, wmd, i understand has a number of meanings. suppose you came into the country with the idea of assassinating public officials with a handgun. isn't that terrorism just as much as using bombs? >> well, of course it is. and that's why you have to define where the rules apply not based on the weapons that are used. use a weapons of mass destruction, in the case of these laws it equates to a destructive device. explosives. >> they were using box cutters, jonathan.
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they weren't considered weapons by the airlines in those days. i want to get back to jonathan on this. why aren't they terrorist acts? they were, of course. >> they were. the thing is -- >> why does the law say wmd that we're using to prosecute today? >> this is a term of art we've seen come out of the bush administration. ultimately under -- >> sirhan sirhan was a terrorist. he killed bobby kennedy with a handgun. he's a terrorist. >> this is part of the backload from the whole 9/11. civil libertarians expect two explosions in every terrorist attack. one is the original and the other is the privacy of civil liberties. there's this pavlovian response. >> glad to have you on. thank you very much, kendall coffey. up next, boston strong. life in the city is beginning to return to normal. i was up there this weekend overnight. the slow healing has begun. one week after the horrific marathon bombings. it's only a week ago. boy, the world changes in a week, doesn't it? we'll be right back after this. [ male announcer ] need help keeping your digestive balance in sync?
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back to "hardball." some good stories of boston strong. boston strong. just one week after the attacks at the boston marathon, the city of boston slowly returning to some kind of normal. fenway park was back in action on saturday with the first game since monday's bombings. it wouldn't be a game at fenway without a rendition of "sweet caroline" in the eighth inning. saturday was in exception. aside from the little surprise songwriter neil diamond showed up and volunteered to lead the crowd in the tradition. ♪ sweet caroline ♪ good times never seem so good ♪ ♪ i've been inclined ♪ to believe they never would but now i look at the night ♪
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♪ we don't seem so lonely well, that special day at fenway was a beautiful tribute for one fund boston which is raising money for victims. take a look. >> nothing can defeat the heart of the city. because we take care of one another. ♪ >> this is our city. >> it's a glorious thing. this is boston. >> wow. that video was put together by nick and collin barnicle, sons of msnbc contributor mike barnicle. the boston spirit was easy to find outside fenway park, too. people returned to areas close
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to the bombings. >> we're very strong here in boston. we will rebuild and we will be stronger than ever before, i think. >> yeah, boston. woo! >> you don't mess with boston. it's a very, very resilient town. people here, life will go on. >> boston, my home. i'll never turn my back on it. >> there's lots of appreciation for the first responders through last monday's attacks. signs like this one offered free coffee to anyone involved in stepping up to help the city after the attack. a group of young girls walked around boston handing out cookies to police. >> we wanted to give cookies to all boston police. >> thank you. >> it's great that they helped and i really wanted to thank them. >> that's great. anyway, here's an example of the reaction from law enforcement over all the public affection. >> i feel like a firefighter i'm getting so much love. >> wow. up next, new details about tamerlan tsarnaev. you're watching "hardball," the
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place for politics.
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welcome back to "hardball." the tsarnaev brothers, still an unfolding puzzle for all of us. what exactly motivated these two brothers? we're learning more every day. one brother in particular, tamerlan, became increasingly radicalized over the last several years. we know now that the russian government expressed concern about him back in 2011. they warned the fbi he was a follower of radical islam. the fbi's investigation never turned up anything significant. tsarnaev traveled to the troubled region of dagestan for six months. it's where his parents live. it's a hub of jihadist recruitment generally. "the new york times" wrote yesterday -- actually, today. back home in the u.s., tsarnaev became more radicalized. "the boston globe" reports he disrupted conversations at his local cambridge mosque with outbursts of radical theology and created a youtube page.
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how did this lead up to the boston marathon a week ago? richard engel is nbc news' chief foreign correspondent. david is editor of the "new yorker" magazine. i want to start with richard, then to david. richard, why did the russians let him in if he was a problem for them a year earlier? >> it's common where you have governments watching people to give them some slack, to let them travel, to let them come into your country. it actually can be helpful sometimes if you're watching someone to see who they're talking to. we see that time and time again when someone actually does something. >> why did they do it, then? >> they do that to see where their trail will lead. >> why didn't they do it? why didn't they trail him and find out what he was up to over
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there so we would have benefited from that? if that was their intention of letting him in, why didn't they follow up? >> it seems to me they weren't sure how far along he was in this radicalization process. just believing in a radical ideology is not any kind of criminal act. it's once you decide to take action on it. why the russians didn't do more, why the fbi didn't do more, those are good questions. and especially if that "boston globe" reporting is talking about how he was making outbursts in mosques, someone who clearly crossed the rubicon and was -- was acting visibly like they would have fully radicalized themselves. i think that is certainly a red flag. you have someone who's traveled abroad, been pointed out to by
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russian intelligence and suddenly making outbursts, i think you then do raise above that level of suspicion. >> over the weekend, the suspect's uncle told nbc he saw his older nephew grow more radicalized. let's watch. >> i was shocked when i heard his words, his phrases. when he start talking, oh, i mean, every other word he starts sticking in words of god. it wasn't devotion. it was something, as it's called, being radicalized. not understanding even what he's talking. >> you know, it fascinates me, i know you're good on this, david, is what putin is thinking now. does this help him make his case that he's been right against chechnya? and that we were wrong not -- or naive not to understand the threat from there? does he now use this, help us with our intel, help play the case? what is putin going to do with this? >> putin has a huge political interest coming up in russia. that's protecting the olympic games. the winter olympics are coming
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up in that region. they are in sochi which is very, very close to dagestan and chechnya. you can be sure the permanent crackdown that exists in that rege will get more draconian with time and this example will be used. i should say the russian behavior in that region has been brutal and he's tried to excuse it. they've gone way too far very often. despite the radicalization of that region. >> how smart is russian intelligence in tracking the movements and training, if there was any, the radicalization, if there was any, during that six-month period over there in that region? >> well, traditionally in the old soviet union, the smartest elites, whether you liked them or not, and we certainly didn't, had no reason to, gravitated toward the intelligence services. andre, the great dissident, always used to say that reform may well come from inside the kgb, ironically enough, because that's the area where people are the most worldly. they have languages and so on. there's a lot of manpower and
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intellectual power, ironically, in the secret services. that's where putin, himself, comes from and that's where largely the hierarchy of the entire russian government comes from. surrounding putin. >> let me ask you, richard, just your own thoughts because i respect you so much and your reporting. you're a hard reporter. you have been so much living over in the middle east and the islamic world, generally. how does this all fit in? chechnya, radicalization, jihadism. how does it all fit together? >> i wouldn't necessarily think of this as a chechen problem. the chechen nationalists who are the ones that putin wants to crack down on, i think you'd be conflating the issues a little bit. >> okay. >> he would be using this as an excuse to crack down on chechen nationalists and there's no real indication that these brothers were chechen nationalists so much. they were traditional people who had the al qaeda ideology who happened to be chechens. who happened to be from a place in dagestan where there happened to be a lot of radicals. and putin could say, ah, look at this, these are -- it's a hotbed of extremists but they are different kinds of extremists. >> that's right.
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we have the chechen nationals who would want to attack moscow then you would have general global jihadists who are motivated by chechnya, by pakistan, by syria, by palestine, and want to attack the west, the united states, israel. and these two brothers seem to fit into the latter category. >> i should say, chris, i was looking at the websites and youtubes that he has up on his pages, and he's been putting up on his pages for the last three years and there's a mixture. there's a confusion. there's a -- this is a mixed up kid. i mean -- >> i read your column today. >> -- who committed a horrifying and evil act. but the level of confusion and idiocy on these pages is rich. you have both the nationalist element there. you have kind of chechen hip hop then you have videos of why russians who were originally russian orthodox became muslim. and in some cases radical fundamentalists. then you also have the videos of radical fundamentalist preachers
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from all around the world, from the arab world and most particularly this guy, fez mohamed, australian-born, speaks english and is really, really radical. he was listening to him. this process was going on for about three, four years. >> i noticed one of the e-mails or whatever here was a decade in america already, i want out. >> i want out. >> why didn't he just leave? >> this is the younger brother's twitter feed. well, we don't know the answers to these questions. i should say -- and this is, i think, an important point to make. there are a lot of people who go from the devout side to a more radical side. there are a lot of people who entertain political ideas we may not like. those are not criminal acts. and so what richard says about surveillance and the russian intelligence looking in on these people is one thing, but it's hardly possible to go around arresting everybody that begins to entertain radical ideas or fundamentalist versions of their religion. >> thanks for that. thank you, richard engel, as
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always, sir. up next, will the boston marathon bombing change the debate here in washington over immigration reform? they're getting connected already and that's ahead. this is "hardball." the place for politics. angie's list is essential. i automatically go there. at angie's list, you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare written by people just like you. if you want to save yourself time and avoid a hassle, go to angie's list. at angie's list, you'll find the right person to do the job you need. and you'll find the right person quickly and easily. i'm busy, busy, busy, busy. thank goodness for angie's list. from roofers to plumbers to dentists and more, angie's list -- reviews you can trust. oh, angie? i have her on speed dial.
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one week after the boston marathon bombings, pennsylvania avenue in front of the white house remains closed to
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pedestrians. secret service tells nbc news while no pedestrians restriction has been relaxed, has not been relaxed, this is not a permanent new policy luckily. pennsylvania avenue will re-open to pedestrians at some point, but no date has been set. this stretch, you're looking at it now, of pennsylvania avenue, has been closed to vehicle traffic since the oklahoma city bombing back in '95. and this unfortunately is how terrorism wins in these cases. we'll be right back.
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we're back. the boston marathon bombings are already having political ramifications on the hottest debate here in washington right now, immigration reform. last week republican senator
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chuck grassley of iowa is the first to link the boston attacks with immigration, saying the attacks provided an opportunity to discuss the country's broken immigration system. other republicans have gone further, suggesting congress put off action on immigration reform altogether. well, today things got hot when senator chuck schumer of new york indirectly called out grassley. >> you've ways to improve the bill. offer an amendment when we start markup in may and let's vote on it. i say that particularly those who are pointing to what happened, the terrible tragedy in boston as a -- as a would say excuse for not doing a bill or delaying it many months or years. >> i never said that. i never said that. >> i didn't say you did, sir. >> i didn't say anything about -- >> all right. the director of "the huffington post" media group and joy reid is the editor thegrio.com. howard, first and then joy. no matter what we say we could have all predicted this. there was going to be an overlay, a bleeding of this heart into the immigration,
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because it's about foreign people coming here. >> well, there is no question about it. right now the polls show that the people in the united states have a generally, although only modestly favorable view of immigration overall. they're in favor of immigration reform. and they're for the notion of continuing immigration. but there have been times in our history in recent years when people have been very much against the idea of immigration altogether. and what proponents of reform here have to worry about is the sort of notion of nativism coming up again, and people saying no, let's stop. i think that's sort of the impulse behind chuck grassley. it's the impulse behind rand paul, who is one of the renegades who says let's stop immigration reform. but rand paul doesn't have the interest of the republican party at heart. its republicans who want immigration reform for the most part. >> off their back.
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>> people like rand paul are not interested in the future of the republican party. >> i don't think he has a macro view of the party. some republicans who don't like immigration reform are using the boston marathon bombing as an excuse to stall it. in a letter to harry reid, tea party senator rand paul of kentucky said, quote, the facts emerging in the boston marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. we should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system. joy, i'm not sure what weaknesses, or maybe the visa the russians gave him was probably more of a problem. but back and forth, i would say i still think we ought to know more about what happened. he warned, went over and came back and nothing happened then. but your thoughts about immigration per se. what does it have to do here with this bombing? >> right. and it looks at least what immigration reform is designed to fix has nothing to do with this case. these guys didn't sneak over the southern border. they weren't without documents. they had papers. they got them on that plane flight from europe when they came over here. they weren't even from the part of the country that immigration reform is supposedly really directed at which is south of our u.s. border. this has absolutely nothing to do with the contents of immigration reform. if it has something to do with
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the nativism that comes up when something like thanes, then people can discuss that. but this doesn't have anything to do with the specific reforms on the table. and look, if republicans are going to use this as an excuse to not do something that is for their good, let's make no mistake. they have to go immigration reform if they want to continue to be a national party. if they're willing to walk away from that, democrats may be high-fiving them for it. >> people are who they are. and if there is a nativism attitude. they identify with their own group and become more open-minded, more tolerant, more diverse in their thinking. that's part of our growing up in america lately. lately. but i'll tell you one thing. i think it's not the mexicans, the guatemalans, the colombians that are the terrorists, obviously. they come here to get a job. it's the worry maybe about people coming here from the middle east, people coming here from south asia. that's where you're going to see the argument burst out. >> but i think that it would be a terrible result. >> yeah. >> to let what happened in boston derail what most people in the country think is a good project, which is immigration reform.
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and as joy said, this part of the world this r that we're talking about, when dagestan and chechnya are not the main thing at issue here in immigration reform. let's face it. as joy says, it is mostly about south of the border. it is about mostly mexico and latin america. and it's time to do something about that. i think most people in the republican party and the democratic party agree on that. i'm just saying that in terms of general attitudes towards immigrants, one thing can get conflated with the other. and that's the danger here. >> let me play devil's advocate here, because we just had david remnick on who knows russia. he said just because a person has sort of radical views, jihadist views and doesn't do anything, there is nothing wrong with that you don't commit the guy to jail. fair enough. but do you let him in the country? that's a question. >> and chris, you know, i think this does bring up questions about our asylum system, and about our relationship with
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russia and that whole issue, because this was a case where these guys sought political asylum and were taken in. not out of the common immigration system, but the asylum. were naturalized, one became a system. we trusted the intel coming from russia about these guys. >> and just because they don't like russia means they like us. it doesn't work that way. thank you, howard fineman. and now every family thinks alike. we're learning so much. when we return, let me return with what i witnessed this weekend up in boston. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. s ] ♪ ♪ [ man ] excuse me miss. [ gasps ] this fiber one 90 calorie brownie ll the moist, chewy, mmmm. thanks. at 90 calories, the brownie of your dreams is now deliciously real.
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let me finish tonight with this. kathleen and i were in boston this week, and i came away with a memory and a fairly deep realization about the human spirit. it's really quite simple, really. we show respect. we honor loss. but the one human act we can all offer equally, silence. that is what i heard as we walked up boylston street to 2 police rail, cutting off even foot traffic from the finish line and the other bombing site from last monday. people have left things there, little things like teddy bears for martin richard and red sox stuff, and all kinds of hand-written messages of regard and devotion. and most of all, the silence. a town that just loves talking sports, politics, mainly sports, just shut it all down out of respect, respect for the dead, to interest wounded, especially the badly wounded. out of respect for this assault on the people. most of all, the people of boston. remember, this same silence in new york after 9/11. i remember riding the j train, the subway up from downtown, and the silence there, the silence that filled the air and spoke so loud.